A new poll suggests the Democrats might not regain control of Congress like they wished. Veuer’s Sam Berman has the full story.
Election Day is less than threeÂ weeks away, and while meteorologists can’t predict the weather yet for Nov.Â 6, a recent study found that Republican candidates tend to have a slight advantage when it rains.
The findings revealed that at least 1 percent of voting age adults in the U.S. â€“ people who would have voted for a Democrat had the weather been good â€“ decidedÂ instead to cast their ballot for a Republican on rainy election days.
â€œOur study suggests that weather conditions may affect peopleâ€™s decisions on not only whether to vote, but also who they vote for,â€ said study co-author Yusaku Horiuchi, a professor of government at Dartmouth College.
“Contrary to the widely shared belief that weather conditions do not change votersâ€™ electoral decisions,” the study said,Â “our analysis suggests that it is likely that a certain proportion of American voters would change their party preference depending on weather.”
Why is this? How can we explain such “odd” voting behavior, the researchers asked. Study authors think it’s because voters may be more averse to risk during poor weather. Previous political studies in psychology and other fields have shown that conservatives tend to be more pessimistic and risk-averse than liberals, Horiuchi said.
The impact of rain on electionsÂ may not be so far-fetched: “Many existing studiesÂ present that weather conditions affect societal phenomena and activities, such as crime, homicide, suicide, and good behaviors, as well as economic decisions on stock investment, local trading, consumer spendingÂ and college enrollment,” the study noted.
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So apparently onÂ Election Day, rain heightens pessimism and increases fears of risk: “Those who feel in an upbeat mood may lean toward the riskier candidate, while those who feel depressed and anxious lean toward the safer candidate,” the study said.
Thus, “the choice for risk-averse people is to vote Republican,” Horiuchi said.Â
The study appeared in December 2017Â in the journal American Politics Research.
This report expands onÂ previous research that also saidÂ Republicans should hope for a soggy Election Day. In a 2007 study, researchers found that for every inch of rain above the average for the day, the Republican presidential candidate received roughlyÂ an extra 2.5 percent of the vote.
That 2007 study said it was in part because the extra cost of traveling to the polls on a rainy or snowy day decreases Democratic voter turnout and increases Republican turnout.
According to the newer research, however, rain on Election Day not only affects people’s decisions on whether to vote, the lousy weather also determines how they vote.Â